Charges dropped against Harford farmer in 2013 fire obstruction case

Charges were dismissed Wednesday against a White Hall farmer accused in a 2013 incident involving a confrontation with police and firefighters at a field fire on his property last year.

Harford County District Court Judge David Carey agreed to the prosecution's request to dismiss charges of obstructing firefighters and failing to obey a reasonable and lawful order against Stephen Pieper, 63, of the 2900 block of Hunter Mill Road,

Daniel Pieper, 26, of the 4000 block of Norrisville Road, who is Stephen Pieper's son, requested a jury trial Wednesday on his charges of hindering firefighters, obstructing and hindering and resisting arrest. The two men were due to stand trial together earlier this year, but received postponements to obtain separate legal counsel.

In the Dec. 3, 2013 incident, Stephen Pieper allegedly helped his son evade police after Daniel Pieper allegedly had a confrontation with firefighters who had arrived at a property in the 3000 block of Troyer Road to extinguish a large pile of tires, plastic bottles and other trash being burned without a county permit, according to the police statement of charges.

Daniel Pieper allegedly used his Jeep to block the driveway, telling firefighters he didn't want his fields torn up by their equipment, according to charging documents.

Firefighters asked for assistance from Harford County Sheriff's Office deputies, who said in charging documents that Daniel Pieper was "verbally abusive" to them but did eventually move his vehicle when warned he would be arrested if he didn't.

While his son was with the deputies, Stephen Pieper had allegedly pulled his truck up to the driveway entrance, yelled for his son to get in and sped off, leading law enforcement officials to conduct an extensive search to find them, according to the statement of charges against the elder Pieper.

Stephen Pieper was determined to be the owner of the farm where the incident occurred, according to charging documents.

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